OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON/AP) – Prosecutors say they will re-try a man on manslaughter charges for allegedly turning an Oakland warehouse into a cluttered maze that killed 36 at a party.
Alameda County jurors last month could not agree on a verdict against 49-year-old Derick Almena, splitting 10-2 in favor of finding Almena guilty.
Almena was denied bail reduction on Friday and will go back to trial in March 2020.
His bail remains at $750,000.
They acquitted 29-year-old Max Harris.
The Dec. 2, 2016, fire broke out during an electronic music party at a warehouse known as the Ghost Ship in Oakland.
Prosecutors allege Almena was criminally negligent when he illegally converted the industrial building into a residence for artists and held unpermitted events inside.
Almena’s attorneys argued that city workers were to blame for not raising concerns about fire hazards in the warehouse.
Almena’s attorney, Tony Serra, reiterated his willingness to argue his client’s case agaon.
“This is a rare moment when where in a major case both the prosecution and the defense have the same desire. What is that desire? We want to go to trial,” Serra said.
The man’s other attorney said Almena is remorseful for what happened on Dec. 2, 2016, despite some saying otherwise.
“I know there are some people who say that Almena is not remorseful and has not shown remorse for what happened. Well he has every single day,” said attorney Brian Getz.
About a half dozen Almena supports were seated in the courtroom Friday, including his wife Micah Allison.
“I am obviously really sad about the denial of the bail. All Derick wants is to be with his kids. That is all he wants. That is all he has ever wanted,” she said.
Colleen Dolan, the mother of one of the 36 fire victims, said she is emotionally rung out but that she will find the strength to go through another trial.
“I expect I will feel stronger when the next trial begins and I will be there as an advocate for my daughter which is very important,” she said.
Her daughter Chelsea died in the Ghost Ship.
Almena’s trial is scheduled to begin March 30, 2020.
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